SmartStream: unprecedented growth and specialist knowledge
SmartStream CEO Haytham Kaddoura explains to FX-MM editor Peter Garnham how specialist knowledge is driving unprecedented growth at the company and why banks are now willing to entrust the firm with entire parts of their back-office operations.
Kaddoura and SmartStream enter 2017 in an ebullient mood and for a good reason. 2016, he says, was a fabulous year for the company, with a strong turnaround meaning that the majority of the firm’s 2017 target has already been achieved on day one of the new year.
“Customer feedback has been excellent. Our focus is on how to enhance our alliances with our customers,” says Kaddoura. “That has been our primary goal since the beginning of last summer, and it has been good to see it come to fruition in our product lines and on our development pipelines.”
Discussions with clients, he says, have moved to ‘a whole new level’ as the firm helps them to address their compliance concerns with new solutions. The firm is also undertaking a major managed service project with a tier-one global bank in the reconciliations space, and is in talks with three other global banks to provide a similar service.
“Instead of them running reconciliations themselves, we take over part of their staff, increase efficiency and cut their costs significantly,” says Kaddoura. He estimates those cost savings can amount to as much as 20% to 30% as SmartStream builds efficiencies into banks’ processes.
SmartStream transfers some bank staff and operations in-house, overseen by its senior management. The firm has a significant team across the globe – in excess of 700 staff solely dedicated to the enhancement and customisation of their core solutions. But these are not generic consultants, according to Kaddoura.
“These are people that have developed our solutions, worked at banks and know the real logic behind a reconciliation business for a bank,” he says. “These are not pure technical specialists or generic consultants trying to adapt to new functions. These are people that add value, make amendments where they need to be made, and shave significant dollars off the cost of any bank’s infrastructure.”